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Build or bust?

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School District 27J officials unveil plans for renovations, expansions, along with their backup plan should a bond and mill-levy campaign fail in November

By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — The School District 27J Board of Education heard an overview June 10 of district plans for facility improvements pending a successful bond and mill-levy election this November. 

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Chief Operations Officer Terry Lucero told the board the Quality Schools Initiative committee has recommended the district pursue a $150-million bond measure and a $7.5-million mill levy override. A successful bond measure would allow for a number of schools to be built, existing schools to be renovated and take care of some of the district’s infrastructure needs.

 

Completion of Brantner
Elementary School 

The second phase of construction on Brantner Elementary School is projected to add 17 classrooms — allowing for 426 more students — by fall of 2015.

During the meeting, the board voted 6-0 to ask the Capital Facility Fee Foundation for $204,275, which would provide money for the district to begin the schematic design and development phases. He said the design work would be completed this summer, so that if the bond is successful in November, they could move the school’s modular classrooms out of the way during Christmas break to prepare for construction in the spring.

The board also waived the bidding process for selecting a construction manager, as part of the consent agenda.

“We will be entering into negotiations with Saunders Construction, who were the contractors the first go-around,” Lucero said. “There’s many benefits to having the team together. They know the process, they know the people, they know the product, so we’ll bring that team back together to complete the project.” 

The addition is anticipated to cost $6.7 million. 

 

Elementary School No. 12

The district is also planning for its 12th elementary school, which is to be built near East 112th Avenue and Buckley Road.

“We have gone out on the street, we have 13 submittals for the architects, they’re currently under review,” Lucero said. “Once we get the architects on board, then we’ll follow a similar process for the general contractor.”

The elementary school would accommodate 735 students. It’s anticipated to cost $16.5 million and would be open for the fall of 2016.

 

High School No. 3 

The district’s third high school would be located a mile east of Brantner Elementary School at Yosemite and 136th Avenue. Lucero said the schematic design for the school is complete and that the district currently has seven submissions from general contractors for the project for review. 

Lucero said there are some challenges to the site, such as traffic issues and erosion. Additionally, the on-site and off-site costs are reduced by about $5 million when the middle school isn’t on the site. He said that savings could be used to purchase another middle school site as a replacement, such as a site at 136th Avenue and Quebec.

“Once we get the contractor on board, we’ll do more evaluations about that. Any movement toward purchasing another site requires board approval,” he said. 

The high school would be built on a 73-acre site, would accommodate an additional 1,800 students, is anticipated to cost $77 million and would be open in the fall of 2017.

 

Elementary School No. 13 

The district’s 13th  elementary school would be located in the northern part of the district near the new King Soopers in Brighton. The district has owned the title for the site since 2009. The school would accommodate 735 students, is anticipated to cost $17.5 million and would open in the fall of 2018.

 

Modular classrooms for Stuart and Prairie View middle schools

The district will be purchasing additional modular classrooms for students at Stuart and Prairie View middle schools. The preliminary plan for additional six modular units – three at each school – are anticipated to cost $1.8 million and will accommodate about 150 more students at each school.

 

Brighton High School renovation/expansion

Brighton High School would undergo two phases of renovations, according to Lucero. The first phase of renovations is anticipated to cost $6 million and would create space for music and choir classrooms across from the auditorium. The addition would free up rooms from the Comprehensive Learning Center, which would be eliminated from the site in phase two. The first phase would also include work on the roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Lucero said that eventually the CLC would be eliminated and a second-story wing would be built and run east into the student parking lot. He said the addition would increase capacity by 300 students.

“The ultimate cost is about $23 million, we’re talking about $6 million on the front end, based on this concept,” he said.

 

Brighton Heritage
Academy renovation

The district plans to renovate all of Brighton Heritage Academy’s first-floor classrooms on the east wing, installing modern HVAC equipment, removing the metal blinds on the outside of the building and replacing all of the windows. The first phase of the project is anticipated to cost $2.6 million. 

Lucero said future phases would renovate all of the classrooms in the school with an estimated total cost of the project about $8 million.

 

Overland Trail M.S.
renovation/expansion

Lucero said the first phase of work to be done at Overland Trail Middle School would be to add nine classrooms to complete a wing at an estimated cost of $7.5 million. A future phase would add another nine classrooms to a different wing of the school and move the entrance to the building into the courtyard, allowing for the expansion of the cafeteria.

 

Vikan Middle School renovation/expansion 

Renovations at Vikan Middle School would include mechanical work such as a roof replacement and HVAC. Renovations at the school would also make some classrooms bigger, add art classrooms and make restrooms handicap accessible.

During the second phase of the project a cafeteria would be added and the north wing of the school would be eliminated, with a two-story addition to be built to increase student capacity. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $6.5 million. 

 

Fiber optic extension

The district will need to extend its fiber optic network from the district’s technology center to the third high school. Lucero said the extension would become “the hub” of all of the schools on the west side of the district. The extension is anticipated to cost $1 million and would be completed by the fall of 2017.

 

Eagle Ridge
Academy renovation 

Lucero said renovations at Eagle Ridge Academy would add a few classrooms on the second floor of the building. The renovation is anticipated to cost $200,000.

 

Other projects

In additions to new schools and renovations being made to existing schools, the district has a list of other improvements that would be made at its schools. 

“Some of the other projects include security upgrades in every single school that we have,” Lucero said, adding the district is planning different strategies such as secured entry or additional cameras for all of its buildings.

Other projects would include making lighting upgrades for energy efficiency, installing new clocks, bells or intercom systems, HVAC improvements, parking lot maintenance and landscaping improvements. 

 

Contingency plan

In addition to the bond and mill levy packages, Lucero updated the board on its proposed contingency plan which is expected to be complete by mid-July. He said the report that is being completed by Western Demographics is likely to include year-round education for elementary and middle schools in the fall of 2016 and extended day schedules at the high school starting in 2015. 

Lucero wanted to make it clear to the board that the contingency plan is not a “plan B,” as that would imply that there’s some other way for the district to manage its growth. He said building schools would be the only way to manage the district’s growth and that a contingency plan only delays the district’s needs for a few years.

“Going to the contingency plan will not eliminate the need to build new schools,” he said. “On the west end, going to year-round schools buys us almost a year and a half. On the south side, it’s a little longer and on the north end, it’s a little longer than that.” 

Lucero said the district will be launching a new website on July 1 and that information about the district’s ballot measures will be available. 

Superintendent Chris Fiedler told the board he’s excited about November and that he’s hopeful that the ballot measures will be successful.

“If we’re successful, we’ll still be the lowest-funded district in Adams County by about $200 (per pupil), but it would be nice to have those opportunities and not put additional stress on the system by changing the calendar,” he said. 

District officials will be presenting its recommendation to the board on Aug. 12 and the board will consider the resolutions during its Aug. 26th meeting. 

Teresa Gallegos was not present for the meeting and was unable to cast her vote.

 

In other business: 

— The board of education gave Fiedler approval to move forward in purchasing eight new school buses and 400 computers for the 2014-15 academic year. Because the district continues to grow, it needs buses to accommodate additional students. Four special education buses and four propane buses will be purchased for a total of $892,075. The computers will be purchased to replace older technology as part of the district’s cascade plan and cost a total of $209,600. Funding for the purchases was included in the 2014-15 budget.

— The board appointed Fiedler’s administrative assistant Lynn Ann Sheats as election official for the 2014-15 coordinated election as part of its consent agenda. The board is required to appoint an election official; the administrative assistant to the superintendent has traditionally been appointed to fill the position.